NSHR calls for hospital in Jeddah prison


Speaking to reporters after visiting the prison, Dr. Bandar Al-Hajjar, president of NSHR, said prisoners should undergo medical examinations to make sure that they are not infected with any contagious or dangerous diseases.

“At present infected prisoners are taken to King Fahd Hospital where they have to wait for a long time to carry out the tests,” he pointed out.

Al-Hajjar also expressed hope that businessmen and philanthropists would support the hospital project.

He emphasized the need for allowing foreign prisoners to spend part of their jail terms in their home countries in order to reduce the number of prisoners in Saudi jails. He hoped that Saudi Arabia would reach an agreement on this matter with other countries.

The Council of Ministers has already authorized Interior Minister Prince Naif to sign a GCC treaty on the transfer of prisoners. “The society, while praising the Interior Ministry for adopting this treaty, urges it to take the necessary legal steps in order to sign more such treaties with other countries,” Al-Hajjar told Arab News.

Al-Hajjar said that the treaty would allow foreigners who have served six months in a Saudi jail to complete the remainder of their jail sentences in home countries.

He stressed the need for signing such treaties with India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Egypt, all of which have large numbers of their nationals working in Saudi Arabia.

During his visit to Briman, Al-Hajjar said that inmates should be informed of jail regulations and of procedures for presenting their complaints.

Al-Hajjar also spoke of unemployment problems faced by ex-prisoners and urged the authorities to find a quick solution to this social problem. They should be given affidavits stating that there are no charges against them “after one year but without exceeding five years in accordance with the type of crimes they committed.”

He said the affidavit would help them get a decent job in public or private companies.

“If a person remains unemployed after getting out of prison and if he does not have any source of income or social insurance, there is every possibility that he will return to crime, especially drug abuse” the NSHR chief said.

Al-Hajjar said the NSHR team visited the prison in order to learn of its overall condition, including whether it has qualified staff, whether inmates receive food and potable water and whether cells have proper ventilation and light.

Dr. Hussein Al-Sharief, supervisor of the society’s branch in the Makkah Region, said that his office had not found any evidence of torture at Briman Prison.

He, however, confirmed that his office had received several complaints of maltreatment.

Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Zahrani, director of Jeddah Prisons, said he had instructed jail wardens to deal humanely with prisoners. Prison authorities have been keen to keep the premises clean and to provide treatment for inmates suffering from diseases.


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